• Illinois Sustainable Technology Center News

    Illinois Sustainable Technology Center at the Prairie Research Institute
     
     
     
     
    MARCH 2020 NEWS
     
     
     
     
     
    Maggie Oudsema, a research assistant at the Robert B. Annis Water Resources Institute (AWRI), Grand Valley State University and John Scott, a research chemist at ISTC, lower microplastic samples into Muskegon Lake. (Photo courtesy John Scott)
    Maggie Oudsema, a research assistant at the Robert B. Annis Water Resources Institute (AWRI), Grand Valley State University and John Scott, a research chemist at ISTC, lower microplastic samples into Muskegon Lake. (Photo courtesy John Scott)
     
     
     
    Microplastics may increase risk of PFAS entering Lake Michigan's food web
     
    by Irene Miles, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant
    They are ever-present, so it’s not surprising that plastics have been found in waterways all over the world, mainly as microplastics. Another group of contaminants, PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are also being detected in the environment worldwide. All of these contaminants pose concerns on their own, but now research funded by Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant has found that PFAS can stick to microplastic particles in the water, increasing the likelihood that they will end up in the food web.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
      A worker sprays a floor in a food manufacturing plant.
       
    IWT program offers testing for Legionella
     
    by Lisa Sheppard
    With the start of a new year, ISTC’s Institutional Water Treatment (IWT) program is offering a new service to test water sources for Legionella, the bacterium that causes Legionnaires’ disease, to decrease exposure for clients with weak immune systems.
    The IWT services group gives advice on controlling corrosion, mineral scale formation, and biological growth for facilities with institutional water systems. Most of their clients are state-operated facilities, such as Human Services, Department of Corrections, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and others that often have older facilities that need to be checked periodically and maintained. For more information about IWT and to schedule a site visit, view https://www.istc.illinois.edu/techassist/iwt.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Wei Zheng demonstrates his biochar system at Fulton County Field Day in July 2019  
       
    Scientists visit the UK to collaborate on emerging contaminant research
    Three ISTC staff members traveled to the United Kingdom (UK) to discuss emerging contaminant issues with their collaborators in the International Freshwater Microplastics Network. The working group's goal is to reduce microplastics pollution in freshwater environments. It includes researchers from six universities and organizations in the U.S., the U.K., and France. The group will collaborate on pooling individually collected microplastics data to help develop more robust contamination models for both local and global scenarios. 
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
       
    Contaminants of Emerging Concern Report delivered to General Assembly
    In 2018, Illinois’ governor signed House Bill IL-HB5741, which directed the Prairie Research Institute (PRI) to conduct a scientific literature review of contaminants of emerging concern in wastewater treatment plant effluent. It also requested that PRI compile a list of the specific actions recommended by various state and federal agencies to address the environmental or public health concerns associated with these chemicals. 
    The final report was filed with the General Assembly last month. It reviews the current state of scientific knowledge about contaminants of emerging concern (CEC) in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), discusses concentrations of CEC in WWTPs, and reviews existing treatment technologies and U.S. federal and state laws. The report is available in IDEALS.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    IN THE NEWS
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    <img width="225" data-cke-saved-src="https://emails.illinois.edu/files/265419/processed_1562113.png?p=0305T092623" src="https://emails.illinois.edu/files/265419/processed_1562113.png?p=0305T092623" align="left" style="width:225px" '="" border="0" class="">  
       
    SERVICE SPOTLIGHT
    With funding from U.S. EPA, ISTC’s Technical Assistance Program (TAP) is working with the food and beverage manufacturing and processing sector to help them reduce their energy consumption, water use, hazardous materials use, and operating costs.
    TAP engineers are working with the food and beverage industry to help clients identify and adopt safer, more environmentally benign cleaning and sanitation solutions, including aqueous ozone and electrolyzed water (EW). TAP has a mobile aqueous ozone generator available to demonstrate the effectiveness of this technology. If your company is interested in learning more or scheduling a demonstration, contact Troy Walker or Dan Marsch.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    NOTABLE REPORTS & PUBLICATIONS
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    EVENTS
     
     
       
    2020 Emerging Contaminants in the Environment Conference
    Register today to attend 2020 Emerging Contaminants in the Environment Conference (ECEC20) on April 21-22 at the I Hotel and Conference Center in Champaign, IL. Learn about the latest in emerging contaminant research, policies, and outreach from our keynotes, speakers, panelists, and poster presentations.
     
    Other events
    March 19: Contaminants of Emerging Concern (e.g., PFAS) in Biosolids and Wastewater
    April 9: Ann Arbor Summer Festival (A2SF) Festival Footprint: Going Zero Waste
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
    Visit the Prairie Research Institute website to see current job opportunities at ISTC.